Florida landowners in the St. Marks and Aucilla watersheds interested in protecting the conservation values of their land can apply for conservation easement funding through the Red Hills to the Coast – Connecting Land and Water project. Applications will be accepted through March 17, 2023.
Led by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida. The project area, funded through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), includes the entirety of the St. Marks and Aucilla watersheds and covers portions of Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, and Madison counties.
As part of the project, Tall Timbers has funding to pay landowners up to 50 percent of the value of a conservation easement placed upon their land. Tall Timbers will be the conservation easement holder.
RCPP-funded conservation easements protect the conservation values of eligible land by limiting land-uses that could negatively affect agricultural and forestry activities, as well as natural habitats for fish and wildlife. Within these watersheds, conservation easements will safeguard water resources by conserving wetlands and waterway buffers, while still allowing traditional land uses that supply our communities with important commodities.
“We are excited to partner with Tall Timbers in their efforts to continue maintaining the land in ways that make conservation and restoration a priority,” said Juan C. Hernandez, state conservationist for NRCS in Florida.
Lands eligible for RCPP funding include non-industrial forest lands, agricultural lands, lands with natural habitats, or a mix of all three. As the conservation easement holder, Tall Timbers will screen for land eligibility, coordinate with landowners to develop conservation easement project applications, negotiate conservation easement terms with landowners, and develop a land management plan.
Due to the complex nature of conservation easement projects, landowners interested in this funding are strongly encouraged to contact Tall Timbers to discuss this funding option prior to submitting an application. If interested in conserving your land in partnership with Tall Timbers and NRCS, please contact Peter Kleinhenz, conservation coordinator at Tall Timbers, at email@example.com or (850) 508-0777.